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Every Knee Will Bow

The prophet Isaiah gave many prophecies of doom against the nations, but those prophecies are overshadowed by his glorious prophecies of hope for all people through the Christ. One such prophecy is found in Isaiah 45:20-23, where Jehovah's words send a message of salvation to the whole world:

20"Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. 21Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. 22Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance."

Notice a few points from this passage. God calls upon all of the souls in this world who ignorantly depend on false gods, and He presents the evidence for Himself. It is He who has declared "the end from the beginning" (Isa. 46:10; see also 41:26; 44:7) and has demonstrated His divine wisdom, foresight, and sovereignty. There is no other God besides Him, who is also "a righteous God and a Savior." Therefore, God appeals to "all the ends of the earth" to turn to Him and be saved. His divine purpose has been set forth through His holy word of which He also says in Isaiah 55:11, "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

The latter part of verse 23 declares the exact outcome of God's divine purpose that will certainly be accomplished. He says, "...that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance." The words of this prophecy are now being fulfilled in Christ Jesus as the gospel call has sounded forth throughout the earth declaring the way of salvation to all men. This fulfillment is specifically declared in Philippians 2:9-11, which speaks of the result of Christ's humble obedience to His heavenly Father:

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Consider what this means for us in practical terms today. The appeal of God through Christ for salvation has gone out to the world, and now is the time for each soul to answer. "Behold, now is 'the acceptable time, behold, now is 'the day of salvation'" (2Cor. 6:2). If anyone would be saved, then let him bow his knee at the name of Jesus now, and let him swear allegiance to the Lord today. This is a matter of submission to the will of God in humble obedience just as Jesus exemplified in His own humble obedience. Notice Philippians 2:5-8:

5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Those who by faith imitate the humble obedience of Christ by obeying Him will obtain the salvation of their souls, just as the word of God explains in Hebrews 5:8-9:

8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation...

Those who obey Him will boldly swear allegiance to God and "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Consider Romans 10:8-10:

8But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" -- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Indeed, God has made salvation available to all men in this way, but not all men will accept it. Nevertheless, God has said, "...that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance," and that "at the name of Jesus every knee will bow...and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Despite their stubbornness, those who now refuse to bow their knees to the Lord and confess Jesus Christ will be forced to do so at the end of time. However, it will be too late for their salvation, for the opportunity to have faith and please God will have passed (Heb. 11:6). The question that remains for all of us now is, will we bow our knees at the name of Jesus now, or will we wait until it is too late?

Stacey E. Durham



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